Foxtons estate agents full-year profits plunge 54% thanks to Brexit and stamp duty hike

Things will ‘remain challenging’ in 2017 the company said as the subdued property market continues

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Profits at Foxtons plunged 54 per cent in 2016 as the estate agent was hit by the Brexit vote and increases in property taxes.

The London-focused agent said pre-tax profits fell to £18.8m in the year to 31 December, compared with £41m a year earlier and warned that things would “remain challenging throughout 2017”.

It said property sales had been particularly hit, down 23 per cent to £55m, after a “marked step-down” following the EU referendum.

Lettings turnover was down 1 per cent, to £68.3m, slightly cushioning the fall in sales. Total revenue was down 11.4 per cent to £132.7m. 

Foxtons said sales had also been hurt by the Government's stamp duty hike that came into force in April last year, which particularly affected high-value areas such as London and the South-east.

Chief executive Nic Budden said: “Last year's London property market was severely impacted by an unprecedented sequence of events with changes to stamp duty and the EU referendum vote leading to a substantial reduction in property sales transactions, especially in Central London.

“We were not immune to the decline in volumes.”

Mr Budden warned that should current sales activity continue through the remainder of this year, it was “likely that 2017 sales volumes will be below last year”.

Worse could be to come for Foxtons as estate agents are set to be hit by Chancellor Philip Hammond's pledge to abolish letting agent fees charged to tennants.

The proposal, announced in the last Autumn Statement, is currently in consultation but no date has yet been set for its implementation.